TRUNK CALL FROM PUNJAB

So what if fashion weeks don’t come to their city? Style divas in Chandigarh and Ludhiana live it up at trunk shows

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published:March 8, 2009 4:59 pm

So what if fashion weeks don’t come to their city? Style divas in Chandigarh and Ludhiana live it up at trunk shows
The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘trunk’ may be a steely box filled with woollens and naphthalene balls stacked away in your grandmother’s dingy storehouse. Or if you have your nose in fashion,you could say ‘Louis Vuitton makes them in leather!’ However,for the ‘with it’ crowd in Punjab,only the finest spills out from a trunk—the best clothes,shoes and bags,not just from homegrown designers but international luxury labels as well.

Lugging their plump boxes to Punjab for these ‘trunk shows’ are luxury brands like Jimmy Choo,Brioni,Aigner,Judith Leiber,Poleci,Just Cavalli,Kenzo and Valentino as well as Indian designers like Malini Ramani,Gaurav Gupta,Shantanu-Nikhil and Manish Malhotra. While the glitzy metros are spoilt for choice with luxury lineups,the swish set in the tier-two cities of Punjab had to plan a weekend,get the car out of the driveway and head to Delhi to shop for labels in haste. “This is where ‘trunk shows’ start making sense. The brands come to your doorstep,” says the immaculately dressed Divya Dhanda.

The Ludhiana-based socialite has got the ladies in her city to try on Jimmy Choos,choose Judith Leiber bags (the likes of which are sported by Catherine Zeta Jones and Lindsay Lohan) and also to get dressed for the evening in a gown from Christie’s.

“Today,everyone is aware of international brands. Trunk shows aren’t held to create awareness but to facilitate buying. It’s simply about cutting down on travel time,” says Dhanda who’s into hosting shows styled pretty much like exhibitions at five-star hotels — for the sheer “love of fashion”.

That’s something her friend and Ludhiana-based Geeta Bector,from the illustrious Cremica (a diversified food products company) family,can relate to. “For me ,it all started after my friend at Satya Paul coaxed me into playing host,” says Bector,who apart from her visible weakness for Chanel and Prada,has also brought in brands like Kenzo,Cavalli and Paul Smith. “Also,Queenie (Dhody) who’s a dear friend,came in with her collection of jewellery,” she says.

And it’s not just a come-see,try-and-leave affair. “The pockets are actually deep in Ludhiana,” chirps the lady with the final say on the social circuit,writer-socialite Poonam Bindra. Interestingly,it’s not just an all-ladies affair. “Darling,if the women are going to buy a Rs 2 lakh clutch,the husband will surely come along,” she says. Trunk shows that last a day or more are targetting the men as well. That explains Italian fashion house Brioni’s arrival in Ludhiana for a two-day pre-holiday trunk show last December. Despite prices of suits starting from Rs1.9 lakh,the show was a full house.

It’s this love to splurge and weakness for all things labelled in Punjab that got Sangeeta Assomull,CEO of Marigold Group,to send out the invites for trunk shows in Chandigarh and Ludhiana. “We had heard a lot about Punjab and its well-heeled fashionable set. Holding trunk shows provided us an amazing platform to connect with fashion lovers and to introduce them to our luxury brands,” says Assomull whose company has been credited for bringing in American biggies like Judith Leiber,Poleci and Walter. “The response we have received has been overwhelming. In fact we had repeat shows and more are in the pipeline for the coming months,” she says.

While Delhi and Mumbai were raising a toast to back-to-back fashion weeks and rubbing shoulders with the designer set,closer home,ladies in Patiala salwars were asking each other,‘Who’s coming next?’ as the trunks continued to roll in.

“All of us like to shop for designer labels but don’t always get a chance to pick and choose from a lineup under one roof!” says Radhika Dhawan of First Row,a Mumbai-based outfit that brought to Chandigarh a bevy of designers. Names like Ashish Soni,Gaurav Gupta,Gauri & Nainika and Rohit Bal had the ladies queuing up. “Just as Chandigarh wants a slice of the style pie,the designers want to tap unexplored markets,” says Dhawan who also brought in Valentino bags. If that wasn’t enough,the show was closely followed by a trunk show put together by ‘fashion curator’ Shaan Thadhani.

Thadhani handpicked ensembles from collections of as many as 11 leading Indian designers. “The idea is to bring designer work here and also give an opportunity to the discerning buyers to view collections they would otherwise have to travel to Delhi for,” says Thadhani.
As we eye a rack full of satin tunics by designer Gaurav Gupta,Thadhani adds,“You have to keep in mind design sensibilities from both sides.” Well,for now it’s a perfect match.

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